F1 teams are navigating a complex campaign with the largely carried-over car concepts that were introduced at the start of 2020, but have been kept on for an extra year so the teams did not have to make major progress on their cars for the 2022 rules reset during the initial economic setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to delay introducing the new cars from 2021 to 2022 also meant they are now being produced under F1’s new cost cap restrictions.
The situation means many teams are already entering the final stages of planned developments for their 2021 challengers – with Haas reaching that point at the end of winter testing.
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies said over the Spanish GP weekend that the Italian squad was already “90% or 95%” focused on 2022, which Dave Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, said was comparable to the situation at his team.
“We’re probably not too far away from that I think,” said Robson. “Certainly, the time in the windtunnel is almost entirely next year’s car.
“The vast majority, [or] a massively high proportion of the aero department are all working on next year’s car. The design office the same.
“So, we’re just in the final throes of the last few new bits for this car. Yeah, we’re probably very similar to Ferrari in those percentages.”
George Russell, Williams FW43B
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
But Robson reckons that “there’s still some” performance still to be found with the FW43B, which has continued the FW43’s trend of being fast in qualifying before slipping back in races, while also suffering from severe sensitivity in windy conditions.
Robson added: “There are a few bits and pieces we’re not we’re not fully on top of – a few test pieces that we’ve had on the car, we’ve taken back off and we’re still refining.
“So, I think there’s still a bit more to come from it.
“It probably isn’t going to change our world massively as the season goes on, but there’s still more to come. Definitely.
“We will keep pushing that. I think we can eek a bit more out of it.”